Pesto Pasta Salad (AIP)

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Big news, folks! As of last week, my blog has been awarded “The Paleo Approach Approved” badge (see sidebar)! The badge indicates that this blog is a resource which aligns with the recommendations in Sarah Ballantyne’s book, The Paleo Approach: Reverse Autoimmune Disease and Heal Your Body. I feel so honored to be a part of the growing Paleo Approach community with a number of other talented bloggers. To view all the TPA Approved resources and blogs (all of which I highly recommend!), visit http://www.thepaleomom.com/tpa-approved

On to the latest recipe! Now that the farmers market is just bursting with fresh produce, I found myself overwhelmed with the amount of zucchini in my fridge. Zoodles  (“zucchini” + “noodles”. Get it?) are a fabulous way to eat it up!

Pesto Pasta Salad
Serves 4

Ingredients

For Pesto:

1 bunch basil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup olive oil
½ tsp salt

For “Pasta” and Veggies:

3 zucchini
1 carton mushrooms (8 oz), sliced
2 baked chicken breasts, shredded
2 Tbsp coconut oil

Directions

First, make your zoodles. If you have fancy tools for doing this, like a spiralizer, great! Use those. If you do not have fancy tools (like me) just use a potato/vegetable peeler. Peel off the skin and discard, then just keep right on peeling the flesh into long strips, straight into a colander. This makes fettuccini-like noodles. Peel until you get to the seeded, inner part of the zucchini. Set seeded part aside. Sprinkle zoodles with salt and set colander in the sink for 20 minutes.

Make pesto. Remove basil leaves from stem. Add basil, garlic, olive oil, and salt to food processor. Process until well-chopped and mixed.

Slice up remainder of zucchini. Heat coconut oil in a deep frying pan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and zucchini. Cook for 10-15 minutes until cooked to your liking. I like mine to start getting a little brown and crispy.

While shrooms and zukes are cooking, squeeze excess moisture from the zoodles (the salt helps draw it out). Once the mushrooms and zucchini are cooked to your liking, add zoodles and cooked chicken to pan and cook for 3-5 more minutes until zoodles are slightly cooked and chicken is warm.

Remove from heat and stir in the pesto. Enjoy hot or cold!

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Egg-Free Salmon Cakes

I do all my cooking at night in a poorly lit apartment - thus my food photos are not ideal.

I do all my cooking at night in a poorly lit apartment – thus my food photos are not ideal.

Living egg-free can be a challenge. Not only is a morning protein standby off the table, but other types of cooking and baking becomes a challenge. Enter non-egg binders. In the Paleo Mom’s series on “The Science and Art of Paleofying Everything,” she has a great post on ideas for ways to adapt recipes that call for eggs.  A Clean Plate also has a helpful post about substitutions.

This recipe uses green plantain puree, with a little avocado for added moisture.

Ingredients:

18 oz. Canned Salmon (I use Trader Joe’s wild caught Alaskan)
½ avocado
1 green plantain
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
½ yellow onion, chopped
1 Tbsp Dill
squeeze of lemon juice
1 tsp salt, or more to taste (I have a very salty palate)
½ cup coconut oil

Peel and chop plantain into a few pieces. Add to food processor and process until it becomes a smooth puree. This may take a few minutes depending on the greenness of your plantain.

Add avocado and process until two are mixed together as a sticky paste.

In large bowl, mix all ingredients well – I do it with my hands to make sure the binder is well distributed.

 Carefully form into about 8 patties.

Heat coconut oil in frying pan on medium heat. When the oil is hot, carefully add your patties. Cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side, or until fried golden brown and hot in the middle. Add more coconut oil if needed.

Note: A few pieces will likely fall off your perfectly-formed patties while transferring to the pan or flipping. Personally, I let the little pieces get golden and crispy and enjoy eating them just as much as the burgers themselves.

Easy Gingery CarrotSauce

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I’m lucky to live close to an abundant year-round farmers market. The St. Paul Farmers Market has kept me well fed this summer, allowing me to eat lots of fresh vegetables while being on a pretty tight budget. Luckily it is still going strong into November, and each week I make a pilgrimage to stock up on the week’s cabbage, broccoli, Brussel’s sprouts, carrots, and grassfed beef from my favorite farmer.

I have been trying to incorporate more fresh ginger into my diet to experience some of its well-known anti-inflammatory benefits. Gingery CarrotSauce is super easy to make and only requires four ingredients. It tastes like dessert without any sweetener added – the sweetness of fresh carrots and ginger is enough!

 

Gingery CarrotSauce

2-3 cups carrots, chopped into two-inch long pieces
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 inch piece of ginger, chopped into large pieces
1 tsp cinnamon

Place carrots and ginger pieces in a sauce pan and cover  with water.

Bring water to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the carrots are soft and easily pierced with a fork. Once soft, drain in a colander.

Add carrots and ginger to food processor and process until the pieces are broken up and it starts looking smooth. Add coconut milk and cinnamon, and continue processing until you have a nice creamy consistency.

Enjoy either hot (as it should be when you first make it if the carrots are still hot from the pot) or put in the fridge until it gets cold. Both are equally good!

Pumpkin Carrot Cakies

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These delicious cookies came out with a cake-like texture, so I decided to dub them “cakies.” They are egg-free, using mashed banana and apple sauce as binders. If you’re avoiding sweeteners, leave out the dates/honey.

Pumpkin Carrot Cakies

Yield: 6 large cakies

1/3 cup coconut oil
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
3-4 chopped dates or 2 Tbsp raw honey
1/2 cup pumpkin
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
pinch of ground clove
1 cup shredded carrots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Combine coconut oil, banana, apple sauce, dates, pumpkin and vanilla in your food processor and process until smooth. This is a good way to go easy on sore joints, which many with AI diseases live with – me included. You can also do this part by hand.

Stir in coconut flour, baking soda, and spices until you have a nice batter. Add your carrots and mix them in.

Form the dough into six patties. The cookies won’t spread out and will rise just a little bit. It works best to flatten them out, almost like hamburger patties.

Place on your parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and pop in the oven for 30 minutes, or until cookies are done in the middle. Enjoy!